National Geographic : 1994 Sep
THE PRESIDENT'S REPORT ON THE Education Foundation At Long Last, New Geography Standards They're teaching our kids gar bage in schools now-and it's a great way to turn them on to geography. As part of the National Geo graphic Kids Network program, stu dents root through classroom trash and analyze how much of it is recy clable. Then, using a computer link, they compare their findings with those of youngsters in schools around the nation and the world. It's a chance for students at Layton Hall Elementary School in Fairfax, Virginia (right), to share an ecology lesson with kids like those at Siler City Elementary School in North Carolina (below). Projects like these help students explore the many aspects of geogra phy. And I'm very excited about the next step: To help teachers pull those elements together, new ANNIEGRIFFITHS BELT geography education standards are to be announced next month. Last March, President Clinton signed into law the Goals 2000 education act, aimed at improving student performance in eight sub jects, including geography. Across the country more than 2,000 people have worked on the geography stan dards, drawing up a blueprint of basic knowledge and skills that stu dents should possess by the fourth, eighth, and twelfth grades. For example, fourth-grade teach ers will now know that students should, among other things, be able to make a cardboard or clay model of a region showing landforms, drainage systems, and vegetation. Anthony R. de Souza, editor of the Society's RESEARCH & EXPLORA TION journal, is executive director of the geography-standards effort. "This could be a golden era for geography," says de Souza. "The standards will be voluntary, but for our children's sake-I hope schools seize the opportunity." FRITZ HOFFMAN,JB PICTURES THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICSOCIETY EDUCATIONFOUNDATION WAS ESTABLISHED TO RAISE AND DISTRIBUTE FUNDS FOR EDUCATIONALAND SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMS.